Florian wins Arena Racing title

Published 6:30 pm Monday, March 29, 2010

Derek Miller scored his second victory in the 50-lap Top Dog race and Suffolk’s Adam Florian put the finishing touch on his second straight Pro Series championship as Arena Racing Hampton Roads closed the curtain on its 2009-10 season with Saturday’s Great Atlantic 200 at the Hampton Coliseum.

Miller drew the pole for the Top Dog feature, sharing the front row with Matt Leach. Travis Wall lined up third, alongside Florian, who had clinched the series title with an A Main win earlier in the evening.

The first caution flag flew on lap 3 as Leach skittered sideways into Turn 1, collecting three more drivers. It was just the first salvo in a rough-and-tumble event, which saw a total of eight yellow flags, including one red flag stoppage at lap 7 for wall repairs.

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While all brands of mayhem swirled behind him, Miller was steady as a rock at the head of the field. On each of the many double-file restarts, Miller easily outdistanced his front-row colleague, leaving the lane open to the inside and instigating a battle for second, while he pulled away.

On the final restart, with five to go, Miller powered ahead of Josh Ayer, who quickly found Wall on his inside flank. Wall took the second spot and tailed Miller to the checkers, finishing a car-length back. Ayer was third, followed by Charlie Green and Robbie Davis.

In the final Pro Series standings, with each driver’s best 13 of 15 outings counting toward the title, Florian claimed the championship by five points over Suffolk’s Scott Prillaman, 414-409.

Florian started on the pole and wired the field for his eighth feature win in the 50-lap A Main. The victory, coupled with Prillaman’s fifth-place finish, clinched a second straight Pro Series crown for Florian.

Florian leaped ahead of front-row partner Travis Wall as the initial green flag waved. His start was a bit too good to suit race officials, though, and a complete restart was ordered.

On the second try, Florian again motored into the lead, leaving Wall to race door-to-door with Chris Raiford.

On the last restart, coming on lap 31, the top six runners – Florian, Wall, Ayer, Jordan Wood, Miller and Prillaman – snaked away from the rest of the pack in bumper-to-bumper formation. As the laps clicked by, Florian and Wall began to separate themselves.

At the finish, Florian was the winner by a car-length over Wall. Ayer was third, followed by Wood and Prillaman.

Up by one point coming into the event, Florian gained four more points on Prillaman and extended his lead to five. Since the most Prillaman could hope to gain in the Top Dog race was four points, Florian claimed the title.

Pole-sitter Robbie Davis showed the way from flag to flag and captured his second victory of the season in the 50-lap B Main.

Michael Weddell started on the pole and led all 50 circuits to notch his fifth feature win in the C Main.

In a 30-lapper for the Youth Series, dubbed the “Milk-and-Cookies Division” by announcer Mark Potter, Connor Hall capped an unbeaten campaign with his ninth win in a row. Cullen Roberts was the runner-up, followed by Macy Causey and Gummy Cook.